SPUTNIK EXCLUSIVE: Kurdish-Led Operation in Raqqa 'Saved Thousands of Civilians'
18:45 14.12.2016(updated 21:42 14.12.2016)
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are continuing their fight against Daesh in the Syrian city of Raqqa. In an exclusive interview with Sputnik Turkey, spokeswoman for the operation command group on Raqqa's liberation and commander of the Kurdish YPJ female battalion Cihan Sekh Ehmed commented on the current situation in the city.
According to Ehmed, the recent military operation in Raqqa helped to save the lives of thousands of civilians.
During the second stage of the Euphrates shield operation to liberate the city of Raqqa which started on December 10, more than 15 villages near Raqqa were liberated from Daesh militants, Ehmed said, adding that the terrorist group has taken heavy losses.
"The operation to free Raqqa is going on as we expected. Our forces are rapidly moving forward. During the operation, we have reconquered a considerable number of villages in the vicinity of Raqqa from Daesh. Recently, we've also managed to release three more villages in the Kadiri area. During fierce fighting, our forces destroyed a large number of Daesh militants. The jihadists are bearing serious losses. Yesterday, we managed to prevent a terrorist attack on SDF positions by exploding a terrorists' car full of explosives before it reached its goal," Ehmed told Sputnik Turkey.
Ehmed also stated that Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had managed to open a corridor for civilians, thus saving thousands of lives in the area of Raqqa.
"Daesh uses civilians as human shields, and therefore prevents people from escaping the area of combat operations by all means. In particular, the jihadists shoot at those who try to leave the area. The day before we managed to open a corridor through which thousands of civilians from the surrounding villages were able to escape. They have been placed in refugee camps in a safe area," Ehmed said.
Operation Euphrates Rage was initiated by the Syrian Democratic Forces (DSS), with Kurdish self-defense forces (YPJ) being one of its major units.
The first stage of the operation started on November 5, and, as result, 60 villages including those located in strategically important heights have been liberated. The second stage is aimed at encircling Raqqa, which has been the de-facto capital of Daesh since 2013.
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